Watch // Holly Wethey

“There is a triple sight in blindness keen”
– John Keats, “To Homer”

I want to go back to
the crowds

That gazed on perfection
and its slightly fallen
counterparts.

Trying
to understand
miracle and its response
to audience.

And that crowd of fishermen,
that, mining deep blue to eat,
must have nearly died when,
looking across the water,
they saw a man
trekking the waves

and pulling the blooming red.


Holly Wethey ‘s small pleasures include Shiba Inus, running into people she knows, and decaf vanilla chai.

lunar hues // hadi

everybody writes about
the moon and i wouldn’t
be surprised if she’s like
what the hell am i
supposed to do about all
your problems?
how am i supposed to
stop a force so strong it
can break glass, ten,
twenty, times a day?
but this is a selfish poem.
the moon can take her
problems up with god.
i have problems too.
every day i’m asked to
apologize for the way
night makes wailing
babies, broken petals,
screaming oceans
out of all of us.
i don’t mind being angry
for you, with you, on top
of you, glowing your
windowsills a soft blue.
i don’t mind getting the
silent treatment if you
don’t want to talk to me
right now.
it’s not your lack of so
and so and this and that.
me,
i’m kinda tired of the way
people will ask if you’re
okay as long as you
tweet about being close
to the point of unalive. i’d
rather link up with ms.
moon and look at
pictures of bts’ jimin,
watch the ice unfurl into
a metaphor for desire
as yuri tells victor to
never take his eyes off
his woman man body.
you feel me, moon? i
hate the heaviness of
gender and i never
thought it would hurt this
much. i never thought
thinking would hurt this
much. i thought i would
be fine. i wish i felt the
clean kind of sadness
they write about in
dystopian science fiction.
sadness for a cause.
visible, pickable
sadness. when i got live
in twelfth grade i was
afraid to be looked at so i
stopped speaking to
people even though the
black of my hair was
enough to hide the
steady reproduction of
my tiny little problems.
that’s how it feels to love
women. that’s how it
feels to swallow the
moon. it doesn’t feel
magical. it feels like
choking out instead of
down. it feels like every
day i have to hide, and
the nights are getting
shorter.


hadi will take you to the moon.

YOUR BODY COMPLETES THE ENVIRONMENT // VB

I spend three days a week in a photo lab.
On Tuesday, Peter comes in and pays $250 for four rolls of film to be scanned and put onto a USB that he does not bring himself
and I have to sell him one for $15 even though I know you can buy it cheaper elsewhere. He gives me a hard time and I say,
“I spend three days a week in this photo lab.”

When Peter leaves, I sit back at my workstation and feel a tightness
between my vagina and asshole.
I feed a roll of film through the scanner and the teeth of the film get hooked and are pulled into the machine like I want them to buy I don’t have to ask.
I put a finger on the right spot.
There’s a lump.
I can feel a lump, a lump between my vagina and asshole.
I use the work phone to book an appointment while my finger is still on the lump.
Urgently they let me,
When I hang up I bear down.
Here is where I adjust in all ways.

On my way to the doctor’s
I look across the street and see someone who is a little bit hot.
I want to see their face but there is a lamppost between us.
I am not irritated yet.
As we both walk at the steady pace we are both going
the pole stays between us
perfectly obstructing their face.
I keep watching, turning, turning, trying
to catch the face
but I only see the back of their head — finally —
with the lamppost remaining obstructing.
Damn!
I feel a bit of anger that I will never know what this person actually looks like or if they were hot like I thought but the anger subsides and I go back to feeling FEAR about the lump.

Since I have tie to think during my transit,
I think about these feelings and really actually reflect on them I let myself.
My other doctor who doesn’t look at my vagina and asshole but my brain instead told me to give names to these feelings
but I don’t want o personify them to make them real.
I think about how she must be right though:
that I should personify them because I don’t personify this lump but I feel it anyway.

I get to the doctor’s office
check in:
“I’m here about the lump between my vagina and asshole”
and take a seat.
The receptionist brings me a towel after a moment:
“You can use this to cover up once you’re undressed in the room.”
“Naked,” I think.

I get called in and undress.
I put the towel in my backpack
and climb up to lay ass-up on the table.
The doctor eventually walks in and says,
“Oh, did the receptionist not give you a towel?”
The doctor moves on quickly to my ass area
“So… there’s a lump?”
“Yes, there’s a lump.”
“There?” The doctor asks, with a finger on the lump.
“That’s the lump,” I say.
“Sure is.” More taps.
“That’s right. Not bad, huh?” I say.
I feel sly and tricky
because I’m being so friendly and cooperative
and the towel is in my backpack.

The doctor goes on to
tap tap
and s w i r llllll it with a finger
“I don’t know what this is. I’d have to cut into there to see what it is, and I don’t think you want that.”
The doctor (who is just a person)
snaps the gloves off and tosses them into the bin.
Snap!
Snap!
“You can get dressed now, it’s all fine. Don’t worry about the lump. Forget about it, even.”
I roll over and sit up all friendly and cooperatively.
Even though I am still naked I look steadily at the doctor (just a person).
“Wow that is so… said. Very said. You said it.”
The doctor (just a person) agrees and leaves me to get dressed.
I take my lump home with my new towel.

At home, I unpack and undress and put my nice new towel away and go to the bathroom.
I try to bend over and around to see the lump but I can’t.
It isn’t a lump like that, but I can feel it.
I consider putting a needle in to pop it but I don’t follow through.

I call my other doctor (also just a person) about the lump between my vagina and asshole, and he makes time for me.
While lying on the table, he puts on a headlamp
and asks the nurse to pass him one of the popsicle sticks they use to check your throat with so that he can poke the lump between my vagina and asshole with it.
He asks me to get dressed and gives me a referral to an ass specialist.
They give me a tiny piece of paper with a phone number and tell me to call it in two days.
Two hours later they call me and we book an appointment for a day in the next two weeks.

The third time I see a doctor (just a person) about the lump between my vagina and asshole, he asks me where it is and I naturally say, “between my vagina and asshole”
and he doesn’t stop writing as he says “asshole” back to me but also to try it out himself, amused.
He says, “let’s have a look at your lump,” and I kneel down face down on a bed that goes down on an incline and puts my ass in the air and he says, “we call it the ski slope,” and then looks at my asshole and says, “there’s a lump.”
And I like the joke but I don’t laugh.
The doctor (who is just a person)
puts a finger and then a tube and then a camera and then some air into my asshole and then tells me to get dressed and sit back in the chair after he’s done taking it all out and tells me
I have hemorrhoids
and that I have to have soft poos and do I know how to do that and as I say, “drink olive oil?” he talks over me and says, “go to the store and get poo juice,” and I say what and he says poo juice and I say wha are you saying and he says poo juice and I say are you saying poo juice and he says: “no, I’m saying prune, but you can call it that if you want.”
And he doesn’t give me a prescription but he tells me what to do
and I trust him because he’s a doctor but also a person but something about him seems sincere
and I think it’s just that he laughs at my jokes and that makes me feel secure in myself
so I decide I’ll do what he told me to do.
But I haven’t yet.

It’s Wednesday and I am back at work.
I watch the film roll through the machine
out into a circular pit,
wind itself back into place and pick it up.
I toll it around onto itself and put it back into the envelope.

I file it under the customer’s first name and then put a fingere between my vagina and asshole and the lump is still ther and it’s the same size as it was before.


VB doesn’t work at the photo lab anymore but the lump is still there.

Precipice // Saige Severin

She sees me from down the hall, her fingers already flying, and I am stuck silent with books in my hands. There are no nearby shelves, no friends beside me to hoist them on. I’m not even wearing a backpack, because every time I see her I think I should buy one, and every time she is out of my sight I forget.

I put the books between my legs. I hold them there with my knees as she meets me and I greet her with a smile.

How are you? she asks.

Wonderful, I answer, not because it’s true, but because I find the movement far more satisfying than the sign for “fine”.

She eyes the books that hang on for dear life between my knees. Headed to class?

Unfortunately.

Where?

I bring a map up in my mind and draw it with my hands. I trace the turns and long walks with my pointer finger, lips pressed close to my teeth for “near” and open in an O for “far”. Watching signers give directions is like looking in a mirror. She nods along, following my awkward explanation even though, to her, all the directions are flipped.

When I finish with my directions she nods, and I ask, You?

What follows is a hurricane of motion too fast for me to follow. I feel like a weatherman sent to stand in a gale just to prove to the viewers at home that the storm is indeed here and the winds are indeed fast. Her hands are at her chin for “girl”, then down at her hips for “Russia” (or is she saying “broke”?) and by the time I decide that “broke” makes a lot more sense than “Russia”, I catch the sign for Easter and lose my way entirely.

The books slide from my control by degrees. I reach down awkwardly to readjust them, feeling like a teenage boy who hasn’t yet figured out the sign for “subtlety”. If she notices, she doesn’t care. Her eyes are fixed on mine out of politeness. Mine are fixed on hers for fear that I’ll look down and miss even more of the story than has already blown by.

Her hands slow. I don’t want to deal with it all anymore, she says. You know?

I tap a liar’s fingers to a liar’s forehead, point at my lying chest and say, I know.

You’re always such a good listener. She signs “listener” by her eyes instead of her ears. I like that one almost as much as I like the sign for “Canada”. It’s like a little hug, one fist tucked against the chest. Funny that it’s a hand apart from “army”.

Anytime. I tap my wrist for “time” and the movement forces me to confront the fact that I am irreparably late to lecture. Sorry, I say, but I have to go.

Alright. Will I see you at the coffee chat on Saturday? I hear all you miserable seniors get to eat free this time.

I thank the heavens that she can’t hear my stomach growl.

I’ll be there. And I’ll eat them out of house and home.

Great. I look forward to seeing you, she says, and I think I can come away unscathed. But she walks past me and a moment later stomps on the floor to make me turn around. I shuffle in a circle t meet her laughing eyes. She flicks them down to the stack of slowly sliding books and returns them to my stricken face. By the way, she signs without a hint of teasing, I think you should get a backpack.

She turns to leave and does not hear the books fall, tumbling from between my legs with what little was left of my pride.


Saige Severin‘s name alliterates like any good supervillain, but her only crime is liking pineapple on pizza.

Ode to Lazy Afternoons with Mom // Asa

There it is; there it goes.
The water just boiled. You’re
At the table, brandishing mugs
For the both of us. There’s something
Warm about the room. Maybe it’s
You. Menopause! Or the hot, milky tea. Or
Maybe it’s the cats. They’re warm,
& perfectly round. Quite
Rotund, those little hedonists. I say.
Want a cookie? Yes, mama.

I haven’t seen you in a while
So,
Know this:
What you’ve given me, I’ll
Look for it in others.

&
Know this:
There’s always warmth
& —you know this—so much
To eat. Food on the counters & in the cupboards.
Don’t even ask about the fridge; an
Avalanche might snow us in. But,
After all, as you like to remind me:
What’s the point of life without food,
& books, & cats? Not much, I agree.
Perhaps, this is the secret to the universe:
With luck, there will be tea, cookies,
& cakes. Don’t forget the fruit and

Vegetables! Yes.
& there will be onions, garlic, pasta
—more than enough. Too many books
To get through. Some walks. Hah!
A butterball, or two, or three:
The plush ones…the soft-footed ones.
Artless naps; Thyme at sundown;
Silk scarves; Buttered toast at breakfast.
Or maybe just happy quiet, mingled
With small acts of kindness.


Asa can often be found walking the streets of Montreal on her tiptoes while wearing paisley shawls.

Prologue // Sam Cheuk

Sorry I haven’t written you lately, winter is fast approaching, etc. Neither the emperor or the students have any clothes. Fortified behind their respective walls of the legislature and a campus, the police in between are prying at a resolution, trying to storm a burning bridge while students stand pat or slip into sewer grates. Beside it one of the city’s arterial tunnels, connecting the island to the mainland, suspended, day 3.

Molotovs blossom everywhere. Overseas diners debate behind a glass plane, staff jamming wet towels under the front door, about the merit of a reporter who ran past, disappeared into smoke.

The PLA made a guest appearance yesterday, parading down a local street to clear it of its bricks.

I’ve been scribbling for poems, plucked off the streets last night a used gas canister I use as a paper weight for luck, size of a cicada’s shell. What’s left inside don’t smell so bad but I won’t tempt the gods, ma.


Sam Cheuk (Vancouverite/Torontonian): try to pronounce my last name.

On watching a Tony Robbins special, with you, the morning after a federal election. // Jake Morrow

Your favourite guru takes the stage.
He’s a real Ken doll, American
Idol type of a man. All around him,
strobe lights pulse like blood

to the crotch or how lightning
throbs on a hot dark night. Jock
Jams spew through the speaker
stack as a sea of followers, well,
they pulse, too.

He holds open a masculine hand.
he’s asked for so much already,
and you have given so much
already, but you will again.
And you will again. I will
heal you, he says, and
you will again.


Jake Morrow is a current poet and former brunch chef from Toronto.

eulogy for daniel (who is dead to me) // Alana Dunlop

tonight i am imagining all the ways i can sneak back into your life:
write a eulogy on a bookmark because you hate when i dog-ear the pages

but i don’t believe in hegemonic power so i need to
make sure you know i’m not mad i just want to give your shit back.

i dreamed about kissing your lower lip
in houses with 6-foot windows overlooking nothing.
i wake up in my own sour sweat with two rashes racing each other up my cheeks.
when you said you’d punish me i didn’t know you meant your absence would be so violent.
that i’d be wringing your shirt like a rosary and gripping
the walls when i thunders and the rain streaks the window in the shape of your face.

you’ve become my imaginary friend. i imagines every way
you could bend your head to say sorry. i imagined your open casket funeral where i
sulk outside the door. when you called me to break up i pictured you running in horror, your phone on
speaker in your hand. i’ll never see your eyes again so i thought of them falling out and rolling away.
i’m
ruthless sometimes. my idea of you was better than what i got.
i buried both.
i’m the dirt and
you’re the body.


Alana Dunlop made out with you in your dream last night.

Two Dudes and a Rubik’s Cube // Colin Dempsey

“Hey buddy,” I heard from the stall in the washroom of Stanley Park North. I was not this man’s buddy. I was not the designated bathroom buddy. Without hesitation, as I wasn’t doing anything to prevent me, I assumed the role of buddy.

“Yes sir.”

“Will you help a brother out?”

“No toilet paper?”

“Not that.” He kicked a roll out beneath the door. The dust and debris and dirt from the Doc Martens and New Balances and Suicokes Kisee-V’s and Sketchers of pedestrians sullied the sheets of fresh white relief. “I forgot how to stand up.”

“Well,” I tried the door. The tall black slab was adorned with advisory posters urging patrons to keep the floor dry, throw their garbage in the bin, and flush when they finished in the spirit of making a clean, safe space anyone and everyone can use. “The door won’t budge.”

“Slide under it.”

I looked at the already browning toilet paper. “This is my only white shirt.”

“Damn. We can’t have that now.”

The black door ran up to the ceiling. Black scrapes painted a history of last second dashes to digestive relief. 

“Why’d you choose the handicap stall?”

“It’s roomy, like I own an apartment. I can spread my legs.”

I felt my shoulders. They were toothpicks stuck together with gum husked inside a corned beef wrapping, not battering rams. 

“You’re in no rush right?” he asked.

“I can’t even afford a watch.”

He laughed. “Just two dudes and a rubik’s cube.”

The shadow by the washroom entrance was growing long. My stomach groaned at the fading light. The man’s stomach responded in harmony.

“Try this – uh – what’s your name?” I asked.

“Bren,” he said.

“Bren. I’m Haruki. Try pushing off your -”

“Hi Haruki.” There was no tension in his voice.

“Hi Bren. Push off your knees with your hands, put your weight on your heels and shoot up like a rocket.”

“Like the song?”

“Just like the song.” I didn’t know which song. “I’ll count you down.”

He grunted.

“Five, four, three, two, one, now!”

Ten phalanx charging ten battlements shot through Bren’s hands, driving through his knees, buckling his ankles, gouging his heels into the floor, and surging him to exhale like a rusted crane hoisting a skyscraper. It was colossal. So big a voice boomed from the door. It was the man who cleaned the park. His girthy neck stretched his dangling Stanley Park North staff lanyard into a horse collar. He called us junkies and demanded we get out.

We weren’t junkies. We were Haruki and Bren. He made me leave Bren in the stall.


Colin Dempsey is a writer from Guelph, Ontario who gets 15k steps a day (after adjusting for inflation).